The Murder of Seamus Ludlow in County Louth, May 1976. Towards a public inquiry?

 

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The Irish News, 8 September 2005:

O'Loan had concerns over Ludlow probe

 

Sharon O'Neill, 

Police Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan had concerns over the investigation into the loyalist murder of Co Louth man Seamus Ludlow, it has emerged. Although Mrs O'Loan could not mount a probe as it was outside her jurisdiction, she examined both RUC files and Garda material relating to the killing of the forestry worker almost 30 years ago.

It is understood she was concerned by information contained in documents held by both forces.

Mrs O'Loan, who has uncovered failings in police investigations into a number of murders in the north, examined files after a meeting with the Ludlow family.

Her spokesman confirmed last night (Wednesday): "As a consequence of that review of the material, she also had some concerns about the murder investigation.

"We took the view that to investigate those concerns and issues, you would have to begin by focusing matters in the Republic and that was outside her jurisdiction."

News of the ombudsman's unease over aspects of the original probe comes after an inquest into Mr Ludlow's death ordered by the Republic's attorney general confirmed a verdict of unlawful killing.

The 47-year-old forestry worker was abducted and shot dead by loyalists while on his way home after a night out in Dundalk in May 1976.

No-one has been charged with his murder.

The victim's family have long campaigned for a public inquiry amid persistent allegations that his killers were protected by both the RUC and gardai.

The findings of a private inquiry into Mr Ludlow's murder, the 'Barron Report', have been delivered to the Irish government.

However, the details of the dossier have yet to be made public.

Earlier this week, a new inquest into Mr Ludlow's death was held at Dundalk Courthouse.

A retired Garda officer, who was part of the murder investigating squad, said the RUC gave him the names of four suspects connected to the UDA in early February 1979.

However, the inquest was told that although the information was passed to Garda headquarters, the force's 'subversive' unit did not issue any further investigation into the men.

Labour justice spokesman Joe Costello yesterday said the publication of the Barron Report was now crucial in light of details that emerged during the inquest.

"There must be no question of suppressing or delaying publication of the report because of any embarrassment that may be caused for any individuals," he said.

"It is essential that the report should now be published to allow the Oireachtas Committee to consider in full its implications, to hold hearings, and to make any recommendation that may be required in regard to possible further inquiries into the many still unanswered questions about Mr Ludlow's death and the inquiry into his murder."

An Irish government spokesman said legal advice was still being considered in relation to the report.

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Revised: September 09, 2005